The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has relaxed its standards for I-9 documentation verification in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Friday, March 20, 2020, the DHS announced that is was relaxing its' standards for the Form I-9 documentation verification in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being made at this time to review and verify documents in person.
Employers taking physical proximity precautions must inspect the physical documents remotely (over video link, fax, e-mail etc.) and obtain, inspect and retain copies of documents within 3 business days for the purpose of completing Section 2.
Once normal operations resume, employees must report to their employer within 3 business days for in-person verification of their identity and employment authorization documents. Once this physical inspection takes place, the employer should enter the following under additional information (in Section 2 or Section 3 as appropriate): COVID-19, documents physically examined and the date the documents were physically reviewed.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented the following policies to help minimize the burden on both employers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Employers are still required to create cases for any new hire within three business days from the date of hire.
- Employers must use the hire date from the employee’s I-9 when creating an E-Verify case. If this is delayed due to COVID-19 precautions, select “Other” from the drop-down list and enter “COVID-19” as the specific reason.
- Employers may NOT take any adverse action against an employee because the E-Verify case is in interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in extended interim case status.